Friday, January 24, 2014

Day 5: Chicken Ceasar Sandwiches

When I was a kid, my family would go out to eat every Friday night.  Nothing expensive, mostly fast food (back when my dad could pay for a family of 4 at McDonald's or Wendy's with $20--those days are gone!)  The real fun was that we rotated who got to pick where we went.  Fun memories.  Now, I  can't seem to consider Friday night the same as any other weekday.  It always feels like it should be different.  I would be disappointed if I made a traditional meat, vegetable, and grain/starch meal on a Friday night.  That's a Monday meal.  Friday just wouldn't feel like Friday as a kid if it weren't special somehow.  Since we can't really afford to go out every week (and with a 2-year old plus baby don't really WANT to), I try to make a Friday night meal that we COULD get out somewhere.  Whether it's a burger/sandwich-type meal (replica of fast food), or an imitation of a steakhouse meal, my Friday night dinner has to make me think of going out to eat... somewhere... somehow...

Chicken Ceasar Sandwiches (fancy fast-food chicken sandwich!)
1 chicken breast (I use bone-in, skin-on--it's more flavorful to cook it that way and de-bone it later.  Plus, it's cheaper to buy them at the store that way.  One of my challenges this year will be to learn how to properly de-bone a whole raw chicken.)
salt, pepper
ceasar dressing (homemade, recipe follows)
greens (spinach, arugula, lettuce)
shaved parmesan cheese
ciabatta rolls
*Make it a "club"... add bacon! (I usually do...)

Season the chicken with salt and pepper.  Bake at 400* for 30-35 minutes.  Remove the skin and bones.  Slice the chicken.  Spread the dressing on the rolls, add the shaved parmesan slices, chicken, bacon (if using) and greens.  Voila!  Yummy chicken sandwich. :)

Ceasar Dressing
About 2 years ago, I desperately wanted to have ceasar salad with dinner, but I didn't have any dressing for it.  Abby was just a baby and it was too late for a run to the store--dinner was almost ready.  I looked in the fridge and figured I had enough ingredients to make the dressing myself.  I glanced through a few recipes online and then just whipped something together on my own.  Over the years, I have made minor adjustments and now have a method I love.  So this really is my own version of ceasar dressing.  Really, though, I never measure, I just eyeball it.  So I will attempt to put measurements on my ingredients here for you...

1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
2 cloves garlic
2 tsps Dijon mustard
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
juice from 1-2 halves of a lemon (depending on the juiciness)
rounded 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
fresh parsley, chopped
salt, pepper

I start by mincing the garlic and putting in a large bowl.  Add a pinch or two of salt and press with a pestle or the back of a spoon.  Then add the mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and lemon juice and whisk together.  Add the mayo and combine well.  Finally, add the parmesan cheese, sprinkle of pepper, and the chopped parsley.  Mix well and refrigerate.  It will thicken as it refrigerates, but it will always taste great!

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